There's more chance of The Open being played at Portmarnock Golf Club in Dublin than not at this stage, according to Paul McGinley, who says the course measures up to any of the others on the current rota.
The Open has never been held outside of the UK, but it looks increasingly likely that the Claret Jug will be heading to Dublin at some stage in the future.
The R&A have made site visits to the course and the likes of Rory McIlroy have already voiced their support for the oldest Major in the sport heading to the Republic of Ireland.
So McGinley feels like they are well on the road now to The Open actually being held at Portmarnock.
“I think it’s a reality and it’s got more chance of happening than not happening, but the timeline is open,” McGinley told the Irish Independent at the opening of the St Columba’s College Golf Academy in Dublin.
“A lot of ducks have to be lined up before it could happen. But it’s certainly a potential reality. Who would have thought that 10 years ago?”
Logistics and access is always the main problem with many links layouts that would wish to stage The Open, with the huge event now having a massive footprint.
And with McGinley saying the course at Portmarnock is as good as any on the Open rota - he is hoping that the Claret Jug will eventually head to Dublin, even if it will take a decade to organise.
With the 2027 Ryder Cup heading to Ireland at Adare Manor, McGinley feels it could be a golden time for Irish golf fans.
“It will take a lot of boxes for the R&A commercially and while St Andrews is unique, Portmarnock is as good as or better than anything on the current rota,” McGinley added. “The biggest challenge is getting in and out.
“With the Ryder Cup in 2027, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have something in the diary for 2030? But I think that timeline’s too short. I’d say realistically, we’re looking at nearer to 10 years from now.”
Portmarnock club captain Niall Goulding has already said that they've had contact with the R&A about the process.
"The club has had informal contact with the R&A regarding the possibility of hosting the AIG Women's Open and The Open at Portmarnock in the coming years," said Goulding.
Portmarnock has hosted the Irish Open 19 times, the Amateur Championship twice, in 1949 and 2019, along with the 1991 Walker Cup, and is staging the Women’s Amateur Championship next year.
Golf Monthly has contacted the R&A for comment on the latest developments.
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Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website. Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.
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